Drunk Men Whaur ir thae Noo?

Author: Charlie Reynolds

Date: 2001

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 8 Hairst 2001

Charlie Reynolds

Drunk men

A wus jest thinkin’ tha ither deh — an that in itsel is a kinna dangerous soart of a mood tae git intae. Hooiniver A cum roon tae think aboot tha strenge disappearance o’what ustae bae a common breed, drunk men. Thae wur seen a’ ower tha hale countryside naw sae mony years ago. If mae thochts ir tae bae depentit on there wus a brav wheen o’ them aboot, an tha gittin’ drunk bit saimed tae bae an airt in itsel. Sae if ye’l len’ mae yer lugs for a shoart while A’l gie ye a rin doon on a’ the yins A hae min o’. A’m sure ye hae min o’ yer ain “aul favourites.”

Noo for a stert aff maist o’ these lang gane kerecters frae tha tracs o’ mae min’ aye for some unkent raisin wud hae bain a’ dressed in broon strippit shuits an whiles had a big heavy knit gansey on alo tha jeckit, wunter ir simmer wus a’ the saim tae them boys. Noo tha experts in this feil aye kerried a broon parsil o’ butchers meat wae them that maistly wud hae got brustit an tha blid wus aye dreepin’ oot o’t. Tha mair these boys cud hae jest aboot sprootit up onywhaur on maist Seterdays in mae deh as a bus conductor a wud hae sa’ them aroon bus stashions an tha lake, an jest in passin, whun wus the last time ye sa’ a bus conductor A micht ax’ ye?

Hooiniver A hae digressed a bit, lets git bak tae oor drunk men. As A reca’ thae wud hae had mony attributes, fir instance thae aye wud hae misled their bus ticket an thae aye swore it wus sumwhaur in tha broon strippit shuit for thae kent fine that bae tha time ye had sa’ tae tha rest o’ tha fare pyin’ folk on tha bus an come bak tae them thae wud bae within sicht o’ their ain hoose onywye, sae thae wudnae gie a jot if ye wud hae left them sittin’ on their erse on tha bunker.

Anither thing thae wur guid at wus tellin’ iveryboady whuther ye axed them ir naw, wus the fect that thae wud lake tae see, either, an aul bein frae Rome, ir a deid king ca’ed William sent tae tha het countrie.

Tha puzzlin’ bit aboot this wus thae niver wud hae towl ye if tha deil wud hae wantit ony o’ tha twa boys mentioned. Efter their speel o’ sectarian gulderin’ thae then micht tell jest aboot onyboady wha wud lissen aboot tha sayerious bad wumman thae had an tha wile bad hoosekeeper she wus, an tha fect that she cud spen’ a tha money ye cud kerry tae hir (nae menshun o’ tha fect that thae kinna aye forgot tae gie her eneuch tae feed a sporra on, let alane a hale hoose o waens.)

Thae cud bae sa’ in almaist ivery fish an chip shap propped up in tha korner sittin sleepin’ wae their mooth open saiminly advertisin’ bottled stout as thae aye had broon spillages roon their gub an doon tha front o’ their claes. Deed whiles tha wud had ither spillages that wur far wurser nir that, but weel naw discuss them for thae time bein.

Noo whun these boys wur in this cog thae tuk on monies a job thae wur niver axed tae dae. Thae wud hae feeled obleeged tae tak on tha duty o’ directin’ tha traffic in a directions whuther there wus only traffic on the road at a’, it dinnae metter tae them. In tha middle o this thae cud hae kerried on a fecht wae a boady that naeboady else cud see, an maist o’ their fechtin’ wus aye dane in tha revarse style until thae coped ower yin o’ tha mony doags that aye wud hae followed thon boys.

Anither aboot these aul sots wus that whiles thae wud hae tuk a wile thocht aboot baen made a Saint. If thae wud hae got that fu’ o’ “guid drink” in their public hoose visitatashuns thae micht hae had a wheen o’ ha’pens left in their poakets, an it wud hae baen agen their better judgemint tae houl ontae ony o’t. Sae aff coorse thae wud hae had a schame for takin’ care o’ this rare heppenin. Thae wud hae gethered a dose o’ waens roon them an forked oot the tanners tae thae wur a’ gan, tha raisin for this wus ye see that thae thocht that thae hadnae a guid nicht if thae dinnae gang hame skint.

An min’ ye thae wurnae yin bit slow for if there wus nae waens tae bae sa’ thae jest cloddit tha hale bing-jing up intae tha air, an fell til’ anither bleenge ir twa o’ revarse fechtin’. Boys thae wur quare men.

There wus a hale dose o’ ither things thae cud hae dane at tha drap o’ a hat, lake gien ye a gran varsion o’ Tha Sermin on tha Mount, ir sing ye a sang that wud rin intae anither sang but aye endit baen a rare varshun o’ Amazin’ Grace, ir whiles thae tuk tae scobbin tha grun wae their face that wud hae dane nae guid ava, except that it whiles pit an en tae their sangs ir directin’ kars for a while. An at tha en’ o’ a’ their ka’rants thae aye managed tae loas their hoose an wud hae whiles parked for tha nicht in a sheugh.

A suppose tha best sicht o’ these aul mesters wud hae been tha sicht o’ a hale flock o’ them gathered thegither, that ye micht hae sa’ aroon festive times o’ tha year an the lake. Mann it wus sum sicht tae behoul, haf a dizzen o’ thon boys a’ in tha yin clump, an them a’ getting their capers mixed up a tryin tae sugh tha heid aff yin an ither while directin traffic an gaen oot money, an misca’in tha poleece an makin’ rasist remerks aboot them, an makin’ sure nivir tae let them forget that thae nivir had a fether, an that their wife wus intae a hale list o’ unmentionable favours wye ither men.

But tae en on a mair sayrious threed o’ thocht, it is grate that thon puir craturs ir naw as mich tae tha fore as thae ustae. For as A sa’ sumwhaur tha ither deh these lines o’ wisdom:—

Strange drink is ragin, an deth mak’,

Tha wisest man a fool,

An he that is deciev’d thereby

Is jest a senseless mule.



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